NJ Politics Digest: Legislature Introduces Budget With No Millionaires’ Tax

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse.

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey state house. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Democratic leaders in the state legislature made good their pledge to introduce a proposed state budget that doesn’t include Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to hike taxes on New Jersey’s highest earners.
The $38.7 billion budget is similar in spending priorities to one first proposed by Murphy, but it doesn’t include revenue from the millionaires’ tax or increased taxes on gun owners, opioid manufacturers or large businesses that don’t provide health insurance to employees—all items Murphy had proposed, according to reports.

It now remains to be seen if Murphy will accept the budget, veto certain line items or set up a showdown with legislators by vetoing the entire spending plan and insisting on the millionaires’ tax. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have said they don’t support hiking the tax, and Murphy has yet to find anyone in the legislature willing to step forward and sponsor legislation for the tax increases.

Murphy late Monday released a statement saying the budget without the millionaires’ tax increase “falls short on the principle of tax fairness.” In his statement, the governor said he’s committed to a budget “that puts the middle class ahead of the special interests.”

While not including the tax increases, the legislature did add $50 million more for NJ Transit than Murphy originally proposed, as well increases for senior citizen property tax relief.

Quote of the Day: “I don’t know why the governor wouldn’t sign the bill. It’s a Democrat budget. It’s done by Democrats. It addresses a lot of the priorities the governor has,” — Senate President Steve Sweeney.

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NJ Politics Digest: Legislature Introduces Budget With No Millionaires’ Tax